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The Definitive Examination of Morality, Voting and Sin

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As we head closer to the election we see the NAR Christo-political operatives getting more and more desperate. Today instead of responding to another droning dominionist nonsensical article I came across one that appears to be written with good intent. Jonathan Leeman is an elder at a Baptist church in Maryland and he wrote the above linked article which made its way into my inbox this morning. Perhaps we can find some points of agreement along the way but I am afraid that his premise of mixing morality with voting is fundamentally flawed. Even with good intentions, the dominionist influence within well intended churches cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, we will proceed in the hope of having a civil discourse, even if it I might be in disagreement. For the record, Mr. Leeman was kind enough to provide a short version of this article, which is the one I have chosen to address for consideration of your time. Let us reason once more together.

"In this article I'm not going to tell you how to vote in the next election. I'm not going to tell you what makes for a good or wise vote. I'm even not going to offer my full moral evaluation of the upcoming 2020 elections in the United States. Rather, my goal is merely to offer nine principles that will help you determine for yourself whether a given vote is morally better or worse or at least morally permissible. God has given you the Bible and pastors like me to offer you principles. Yet he has also given you a conscience and created you to make these kinds of moral judgments. Further, I think I would be pastorally overstepping were I to tell you how I think you positively should vote, assuming there is more than one permissible option (which includes not voting, voting for a third party, writing in a candidate, or even civil disobedience if you live in a country with compulsory voting). At most, I think a pastor can, from time to time, warn you against paths you should not take. Seldom if ever should he tell you which path you should take, assuming that doing so closes down other morally permissible paths." - Jonathan Leeman

Now, with all due respect, the only reason why an article such as this is undertaken is the writer has a side he believes lines up more with Christian faith and the purpose of the writing is to convince other Christians. This is a direct result of NAR teachings on dominionism which have infiltrated the America church. The worship of this country is in fact the last idol of the church age in my opinion and the zeal for this idol blinds even the most well intended. His initial premise here of differing between morally better or worse is an interesting twist on the lesser of two evils argument. By couching it this way the writer avoids the messy issue of voting for evil, no matter how "lesser" we have deemed it to be. It cannot be avoided however. Both parties are evil. Both candidates are evil. This is the fallen nature of man, no? Either way, let's progress onto his nine principles which he describes as building cumulatively, with the first being most foundational and the ninth incorporating everything.

1. Your vote bears moral weight by virtue of a chain of causation. When you vote in a democratic system, you're actually participating in the role of the "governing authorities" that Paul and Peter describe. Your job is to align your objectives with the purposes which God gives to the government in Scriptures, such as "punish[ing] those who do evil and praise[ing] those who do good" (1 Peter 2:13-14; see also, Gen. 9:5-6; Rom. 13:1-7; etc.). Therefore, your vote requires you to make a moral evaluation about what's good and what's evil, or wise and unwise (see Prov. 8:15-16), and then to act on behalf of your evaluation. You are morally responsible for this evaluation and act of judgment. Suppose then candidate Jack says he believes in positions a, b, c, d, and e, while candidate Jill supports issues l, m, n, o, and p. When I cast a ballot for Jack, I am giving Jack the agency--that is, the power or ability--he needs for turning a, b, c, d, and e into law over and against l, m, n, o, and p. If Jack is elected and succeeds in writing a, b, c, d, and e into law, I become morally culpable for those laws, at least in some measure, by the simple formula of cause and effect with my vote as the first cause. Our votes create the requisite agency. We're handing Jack or Jill the sword of state." - Jonathan Leeman

This is simply extra-biblical. Yes God does outline for us government and its purpose. That is it. It offers no such intricate "aligning of objectives" in scripture whatsoever. According to this logic, God outlines what He would like government to do but leaves the assurance of this up to us. That is the core of NAR theology. God does not need our help beloved. He will bring to pass His will with either President Trump or President Biden. The problem with his analogy here is that no one candidate or party lines up with God, none. Not to mention that Leeman advocates voting for "positions" as opposed to people. The problem there is that most politicians, regardless of party, campaign promising the world and then never deliver on those promises. The notion that the individual voter becomes morally culpable for laws that are passed is RIDICULOUS. What if you voted for President A and Senator B. Now, B does not get elected and his spot votes for a morally repugnant law, which President A signs into law. According to Leeman's logic I voted for the right Senator but the wrong president. Is that half a sin? This is absurd. When we stand before Christ we are culpable for what we do, not what others do. They answer for their sins. Here is an example that might be less nebulous. Leeman is not so secretly advocating for voting for the Republican Party, as do all Christians who are over involved politically. His number one issue, as with all political Christians, is abortion. Yet the Roe vs. Wade decision was given to us by a Republican Supreme Court and it was reaffirmed by a different Republican Supreme Court decades later. According to Leeman's logic, anyone who voted for those presidents, that nominated those justices, is now morally culpable. God help us all if our judgment is based upon what other people do versus what they promised.

"2. With regard to what a vote does, your motives don't matter (but see point 8). Suppose you believe issue e is wicked, yet vote for Jack because you really care about a, b, c, and d. Still, you cannot discount what your vote does. It gives Jack agency to pursue a, b, c, d, and e, and you remain morally responsible for that. There's no way to absolve yourself of moral responsibility for the one thing you don't like and to keep it for the four things you do like. Voting ballots are dumb. They cannot discern your motives. The moral chain of causation remains. Recall, furthermore, that Scripture acknowledges a category for "unintentional sin" (Lev. 4)." - Jonathan Leeman

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